1. Tailor your trip to your interests.
Like New York City, San Francisco is a city with a lot going on in terms of events and nightlife. You could do a trip in which you did the tourist basics like taking a cable car ride and walking over the Golden Gate bridge. Alternatively, you could look up meetup groups that fit with your interests. This is especially the case if you’re a tech nerd and would like to hang out with some of your own kind.
There are lots of SF-based blogs where the bloggers mention nightspots, coffee shops and restaurants they like. If you like comedy and are visiting San Francisco over winter, SF Sketchfest is a popular annual comedy event that will be held January 23 – February 9, 2014.
If you like Broadway type shows, you can see touring productions at the Curran Theater. I’ve seen shows there a few times. The theater is conveniently located downtown.
2. Prepare for it to be cold – even in summer.
San Francisco has lots of great attributes. The weather is not one of them. Even in summer there can be fog and there is almost always a cold wind that makes it necessary to wear more than a t-shirt outside. Get your warmth fix elsewhere.
If you like warmer temperatures you can head elsewhere nearby. For example, wine country to the north or the tech towns to the south, such Mountain View, where Google HQ is located. These places don’t get the fog and bitter wind that affects San Francisco itself.
3. Visit a Farmers market.
The fresh produce in California is delicious, especially the strawberries. If you’re a foodie, make sure you include a visit to one of San Francisco Farmers Markets during your trip. The most convenient large one is probably the one at the Ferry Building. It’s open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
4. Get an unlimited metro card.
The metro in San Francisco is pretty good. A 7 day pass is $28 and allows you unlimited rides on the metro (called Muni) and busses. There’s metro service to both SFO and Oakland airports (flights in/out of Oakland may be cheaper than SFO). You can buy your pass from a machine as you’re leaving the airport and you’re all set. There are also 1 day and 3 day passes available, and monthly passes. The unlimited metro card even includes riding the cable cars.
San Francisco is one of those cities I’d prefer to eat and drink my way around rather than see any specific attractions. The shopping is not particularly awesome in San Francisco. Check out our food & wine section for San Francisco. (San Francisco restaurants / San Francisco food)
photo credit: Thomas Hawk